With a new report alleging lack of pesticide oversight in California, agricultural workers and advocates gathered outside the Ventura County Government Center on Thursday to call attention to the issue.
Pesticide regulation has long been a point of contention in Ventura County, and those at Thursday morning’s gathering wanted raise awareness of the UCLA research and urge the county agricultural commissioner’s office to evaluate safer alternatives to pesticides.
The research, released Wednesday by the university, alleged a systemic lack of oversight by the California Department of Pesticide Regulation and county agricultural commissioners when it comes to pesticide application permits.
State law requires county agricultural commissioners to ensure that those using pesticides first consider using alternatives. The alternative may include measures that don’t include pesticides at all or another pesticide that may be less harmful to people and the environment.
Speakers at the Thursday event in Ventura, many of whom have actively promoted the dangers of widespread pesticide usage for years in the county, were frustrated that it took a comprehensive study from a major university for their concerns to receive attention from local and state officials.
Event organizer Adam Vega, a community organizer with Californians for Pesticide Reform, said the time for studying and deliberation about pesticides, such as chlorpyrifos, is over.
California state and county officials falling short in evaluating use of agricultural pesticides”